The 80's were to start full of confidence after the success of the previous year and the committee elected were given a strong vote of confidence to carry on as they were. Pat Casey remained in control, but no playing field again became a problem and home games and training were taking place at Creggan 12 miles away. Rock struggled in 1980 with only 6 league wins and an early exit in the championship. However the return of Jim McCreesh from Stewartstown Harps to the club was a major boost, he had played at various levels for Tyrone and his footballing abilities were well documented.


Hopes were high for Rock St Patrick's at the beginning of 1981 and the lease of a new field from Peter McCorry which was sited half way between Rock and Slatequarry, proved an ideal location.

McGorry's Field

After the tragic deaths of 2 well respected men in the area Eugene Doyle and Arthur Mulholland the club hosted the first running of the 'Doyle-Mulholland Memorial Cup' this tournament was then to become an annual event. Rock St Patrick's had an excellent season finishing joint 3rd in the league but they only reached the 2nd round in the championship. The season ended with the announcement from Pat Casey that he was to leave the club.


Despite the disappointment of Pat Casey leaving the club, his influence and impression that he left on the players was to bear fruit sooner than most people within the club were to realise. The committee appointed Eugene Mullan and Plunkette Campbell as Junior team trainers and selectors and they were to keep the momentum and hunger built up over the past few years very much to the fore. The training took place at the Gaelic pitch at the Blue Circle Cement factory due to work been carried out on our home pitch.

The new committee elected were as follows:

Tyrone Junior Champions

The team relished on the field and they were to capture their first ever 'Tyrone Junior Championship' on Sunday 1st August 1982 at Plunkette Park Pomeroy when they beat Eskra in the Final on a scoreline of:

Rock St Patrick's 2-12 Eskra 0-7


Intermediate football was to be the reality for 1983 and for the first time Rock St Patrick's fielded a reserve team managed by Liam Heaney (RIP) and assisted by Sean Quinn. Rock had a new strip to show off as well, a white jersey with green and orange flashes at the shoulders, white togs with green and orange stripes at the sides and green socks with thin white orange bands at the top of each sock. Rock were back training and playing in Peter McGorry's field and the new wooden structure changing rooms were also in use.

On Sunday morning 26th June 1983 Liam Heaney had applied the name of the club to the changing rooms but unfortunately later that day Liam was to collapse and die during the second half of the Reserve game. A tragic day for Rock St Patrick's GFC and a great loss to his family and friends.

Rock St Patrick's GFC finished 6th in the league that season and they were defeated by Aghyaran in the 1st round of the championship after a second game due to an appeal. Sean Ruddy was to become the new club referee and he was to fulfil his duty at the highest level throughout the county for many years to come.

First Rock Reserve Team:

Centenary Year 1984

Rock St Patrick's GFC were to make it a very memorable year for the club with the club holding its own celebrations and getting involved with county celebrations also. On the playing front a dismal league campaign left Rock St Patrick's GFC just surviving relegation and an excellent first round championship victory against Cookstown Fr Rocks could not be built on as Rock St Patrick's GFC were defeated by Aughabrack in the second round. However Rock St Patrick's GFC saved all their good performances for the Centenary Cup and after some outstanding performances they lost out to Moortown in the Semi-Finals. August was to see the first games in the 'Liam Heaney Memorial Cup' which was to become an annual event and the first winners were Moy.

Eugene Mullan wins Ulster Senior Championship title with Tyrone.

Centenary Team Sports Day 84 & Old Crocks Team Centenary Sports Day 84


The 1985 season opened with the appointment of Martin Kolbohm as the new Chairman, Dessie Mullan team manager and Coalisland Fianna stalwart J.L. Corr team trainer and selector. A run of disappointing results put Rock in relegation position but a better second half to the season kept Rock in Intermediate for another season. The Championship saw Rock defeat Stewartstown in the 1st round after a dramatic comeback, but Rock bowed out in the 2nd round to Ballygawley.

The full committee elected was:


1986 was to be a very memorable year not so much as regards to events in the club but the Tyrone senior team were to reach their first ever 'All Ireland Football Final'. However after a very entertaining game where Tyrone led for sometime Kerry made an impressive comeback to win the game. Back at club level a much improved season saw Rock finish seventh in the league but they fell to Stewartstown in the Championship.

The committee remained the same from the year before and a big effort began to raise funds for future development. Bingo, Nights at the Races, Sports Days and Raffles were top of the agenda.


Senior football was becoming agonisingly close for Rock St Patrick's as the next few seasons were to discover. Dessie Mullan and Patsy Heaney took over the management role and Eugene Mullan was trainer for 1987. Martin Kolbohm was to join the men in black at youth level leaving the club now with 3 referees.


Rock's flirtation with the prospect of senior football became a near reality in 1988, the closest ever in the club's history. Rock with Dessie Mullan at the reins were defeated in a play-off with Galbally by 3 points and on this occasion lady luck was not on their side. Several times during the game crossbars and uprights saved Galbally but it was to be their day. A new chairman in Sean Ruddy with new faces emerging on the club also made up the new committee.


The club commenced 1989 with a new 'Kerry-Like' strip, the jersey consisted of green with a yellow band around the centre, with yellow cuffs and sleeves and yellow markings on top half of the sleeves. The togs were white with green and yellow thin bands on the sides with green socks decorated with white and yellow trimmings to the top of the socks. It proved to be a mediocre year with relegation looming after a run of poor results, but Rock held on to secure Intermediate status but only just. With the beginning of a new decade beckoning playing facilities were high on the agenda for the committee.